Miami University's Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) received manned affiliate status in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, March 28, expanding the program and bringing more officers to teach at Miami.
Currently, the program has one contractor and a part-time national guardsmen as instructors, brigade commander Lance Oskey said. Starting this summer, the army will dedicate two officers as a part of the partnership, a captain with about ten years of service and a senior non-commissioned officer with about 15 years of service.
"That really is significant growth as far as what this program is going to be able to do," Oskey said. "And the way we're going to be able to enrich the instruction to the cadets as well as engage the campus, both with the student body as well as the increased [group of officers] here."
Starting with the class of 2022, Miami must graduate at least 10 commissioned officers a year to keep its manned affiliate status, professor of military science Lt. Col. Martin Weaver said. If it succeeds in maintaining its numbers, Miami can eventually become a host school. The manned affiliate status is the first step in that process.
Senior military science instructor David Ramsey said four commissioned seniors graduated this year.
Weaver is a professor for Mount Saint Joseph University, Thomas Moore College, Northern Kentucky University and Xavier University, the other four schools that make up the "All for One" battalion. Miami has the largest student body and second-highest cadet population of its battalion, which is the main reason it's being chosen for manned affiliate status.
"There really is no reason [Miami] couldn't grow to become its own program," Weaver said.
Miami's army ROTC was considered crosstown before Wednesday, meaning the school received all of its support from its host, Xavier University, Oskey said. Cadets in the program are required to take one lab elective a semester and attend three physical training (PT) sessions a week.
The army started to phase in the manned affiliate status this year, so classes and PT were held at Miami, and cadets only had to travel to Xavier once or twice a month. But in previous years, cadets had to travel to Xavier for class and PT.
Cadet Veronica Ruiz-Krausp said the manned affiliate status might attract more recruits because it requires less travel.
"It will be an incentive to want to join [Miami's ROTC] army because with Xavier as our host we have to sometimes travel and rely on them, go to their schools," Ruiz-Krausp said. "So if we have all of our program working here, everything is happening in Oxford."
Ramsey said there are currently 29 cadets enrolled, up from 16 at this time last year. The goal is to have 40 cadets enrolled next fall.
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The ceremony also included an award presentation for Cadet Sydney Baker. The smiling freshman received a giant plastic check for enough money to pay full tuition and fees for three years at Miami University. In exchange, she will commission as a second lieutenant for six years of service in the army after she graduates.
Baker said she always knew she wanted to serve from the values her family instilled in her. Baker started going to PT with ROTC last October and officially joined this semester. She plans to contract with the army this fall.
"It's such a great community and family that I knew this is where I wanted to put a lot of my time that I could make a difference by serving in the army," Baker said.
Baker plans to commission to reserves for her six years of required service, although she could be called up for active duty. Ultimately, she wants to work in government using her French and Arabic skills.
Cadet Wesley Taylor said Miami's army ROTC has given him a lot of opportunities in his four years, from humanitarian and military training in Slovakia to airlift school and a conference with top cadettes from around the nation. He plans to attend flight school in Fort Rucker after graduation.
And ROTC has given him a family in college.
"It's so great being around a group of people that care as much as this one," Taylor said.